Monday, January 28, 2013

Ted (2012)

Title: Ted (2012)

Director: Seth McFarlane

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth McFarlane, Giovanni Ribisi, Sam J. Jones  

When Ted was first released in theaters, I totally ignored it because I thought it was going to be a stupid movie, a one trick pony about a Teddy bear doing all sorts of obscene stuff. And while it was that, it was also much more than that and I’m sorry I missed this super funny movie in theaters, I totally underestimated, my bad.  Still, I managed to laugh just as much in the comfort of my home and so I’m here to say that if like me you thought Ted was going to be a sucky movie and haven’t seen it yet, then give it a chance, you’re missing out on a truly funny movie.

Story is all about this kid named John who is a social outcast; his class mates make fun of him and he is lonely most of the time, which is why he ends up talking to his teddy bear. Like many kids at that age, when they got no friends, they make up one. One night, John wishes upon a star. His wish is that Teddy would be real, so he could talk to him like a real person. To his surprise, his wish comes true; his Teddy bear has come to life! Fast forward thirty years and John is now an adult and his Teddy bear still talks! In fact, John and Ted are best buds, they smoke weed, drink and party together. They are inseparable.  Problem is that John’s girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) wants’ more out of their relationship and gives John and ultimatum: her or Ted.

The most relevant thing about Ted are the themes it plays with. Yeah we have a little Teddy smoking weed and cursing like a sailor, but at its core Ted is a movie about growing up, leaving behind childish comfort zones and facing responsibilities head on. Sometimes, people don’t want to face the often times overbearing responsibilities of adult hood. Some would just rather party all the time, like that stupid ass  Eddie Murphy song. To some, responsibilities loom heavily on the horizon, threatening to end all their fun in life, so they ignore them and party as much as they can. Problem is that, if you don’t face these responsibilities and ignore them instead, then you’re hiding away from growing up, you remain a child forever, hence the term “Peter Pan Syndrome” a term commonly used in the world of psychiatry for people who just don’t want to grow up. These are people who are afraid to face anything that threatens their comfort zone. They don’t want to hear their parents, girlfriend, or friends telling them to “do something with your life”. Basically, people like this shun away anything that questions or threatens anything in their comfort zone. People who suffer from this state of mind, shun the rest of the world because they don’t want to face it, they feel inadequate facing others who have moved on with their lives.

John, the character played by Mark Wahlberg isn’t so far down the rabbit whole, he’s at least managed to get himself a beautiful girlfriend played by Mila Kunis, and he wants to become an adult even though he is already 35 years old. He has fallen into that gutter where your life is essentially going nowhere. But his girl is willing to give him a chance, and John at least demonstrates a desire to stand up for himself and become a man; which of course includes one of the biggest responsibilities imposed by society on any human being: marriage! The ultimate compromise! Can John grow up, get married and become a man? That all depends on him leaving his child like things behind, his comfort zones which include smoking weed, drinking like a mad man and watching movies. The problem with these things is not that John does them, it’s that they are the only things he does with his life. It’s all about that delicate balancing act, work hard and then you can party hard. But it can’t all be party! John at least admits that he is 35 and “going nowhere”. So this is a movie about a man who has to stop wasting his life away. The problem is Ted the talking Teddy bear. This little talking Teddy represents that friend that doesn’t want to stop partying, the facilitator of mirth, the one that always calls you up to hang out and party like there’s no tomorrow. According to the film, this type of friend can be detrimental to a person, because they are the kind of friends who won’t let you move on with their lives, who will drag you down with them into their own neverland.  

But you have to admit; sometimes a good party has a strong pull! And in this film the party is not only filled with babes, drugs and alcohol, it also counts with the presence of Sam J. Jones, the actor who played Flash Gordon ("Quarter Back, New York Jets!") in Mike Hodges’s Flash Gordon (1980)! This was the coolest joke in the movie for me because I am a fan of that particular Flash Gordon film, it’s so campy, so flashy, so cheesy, but oh so very fun! Thing is that this Flash Gordon joke is a running gag throughout the whole freaking movie so I was laughing like a mad man every step of the way. Take it from me; if you’re a fan of that Flash Gordon film, with Queen singing “Flash! AaaAaaaaa he’ll save everyone one of us!” then you are in for a special treat with Ted.

"Look Flash, there's Tim Burton blast him away with your laser cannon!"

Ted can be categorized as a “guy’s film” which is basically the kind of movie a guy will want to play for all his buds in his man cave, drinking beers and eating pizza, though woman can also identify with the film since it is a woman that is pushing John to make all these changes in his life. The theme of commitment in a relationship is also one that women will find interesting. Though if they want to see the female verison of this film, then I urge them to check out Young Adult (2011) starring Charleze Theron which plays with similar themes but from a females point of view. Word of warning to those who can’t take a raunchy jokes, the film does indulge into its fare share of vulgar jokes that I’m sure many will find offensive, but again, Gene Simmons definition of success shines through:  “offend as many people as possible”.  This film might have had a Teddy Bear smoking weed, drinking beers and attempting to have sex (even though he has no penis!), yet still, the film went on to make more than 500 million dollars at the box office! So a ‘congratulations’ is in order for first time director Seth McFarlane. Making such a huge hit his first time out is always something good, let’s see if he can duplicate it with his next one, which no doubt we will be seeing sometime soon. I’m sure the success of Ted has Hollywood knocking on his door as I type this.

Rating:  5 out of 5 

The original 'Flash Jump'! 

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